The Baldwin Library
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Climbing the cherry-tree Page 9.
,o~~n o as
THE FIRST VISIT.
BT THE AUTHOR OF
'LITTLE JOE AND HIS STRAWBERRY PLANT,"
WAT TO BE HAPPY," "BUNCH OF GRAPES," "DONALD'S HAMPEB,"
"LITTLE CHARLOTTE'S HOME."
J. P. SKELLY & CO.,
NO. 21 SOUTH SEVENTH STREET,
Tea CHEBRY TREZ..................................... 5
GRA ~ RA's HOUSE...................................... 15
THE ALARM............................ ............. 30
A DiiAPPOINTM ENT................................... 46
AN HEIR AND ING ................................... 58
HO E AGAIN................................................ 71
NORMAN AND ADA;
She jirst hisit.
THE CHERRY TREE.
-.' .RMAN, dear," said little Ada
S':Linton, putting her arm fondly
around her brother's neck,
" will you come into the garden when
you have done that sum? Mamma
says we may go if we keep in the
"All right!" said Norman, who,
6 NORMAN AND ADA.
having attained the advanced age of
seven years, thought it was high time
he should drop a child's mode of
speaking, and assume a more boyish
style. "All right," sounded much
better than a simple Yes, so Norman
determined he would leave off using
such little words altogether. I'll
come by-and-bye, if you will be quiet
till I have done this bothersome
Ada had never before thought it so
hard to be quiet, for she was a meek
little girl, and accustomed to obey
Norman's commands implicitly; bat
to-day she had so much to talk about,
that it did really seem as if the sum
would never come to an end. But
THE CHERRY TREE. 7
sums, like all other things, must come
to an end some time or other; and
Norman's sum, though it was a par-
ticularly disagreeable one, gave in at
last, and owned that he had got the
best of it. The books were then
quickly stowed away, and the two
children scampered off to the garden.
"Let's sit in the old cherry-tree,
Norman," suggested little Ada; as
they stopped in their race, panting for
breath; "it's nice and cool up there."
"Yes, nice and cool; but it's no
fun unless we may eat cherries," said
Norman; "and I don't believe we
I'll go and ask mamma, shall I?"
inquired his little sister.
8 NORMAN AND ADA.
All right! be off 1" answered Nor-
man, and mind you get leave; you'll
find me in the cherry-tree when you
come back, and I shall not want to
get down again."
This old cherry-tree was their
favorite haunt when they were playing
in their garden; there were several
boughs near enough to the ground for
Ada to be able to climb up easily, and
then it was great fun to sit there and
frighten the birds away.
Ada ran with a light step toward
the house, and in a very few minutes
was seen coming back again.
We may we may !" she shouted;
"mamma says,--nt too many, but
we may eat a few."
THE CHERRY TREE. 9
"All right!" said her brother, as he
helped her to climb up to the fork
between the branches where he was
sitting, which was their favorite seat.
" Don't swallow the stones, Ada."
Oh, no, I never swallow them
now, Norman," said the little girl;
"that was when I was a baby, three
or four years ago."
And what are you now, I
wonder?" said Norman; then, with-
out waiting for an answer, he con-
tinued, "'I don't know that I like
going to-morrow, after all."
I don't at all," said little Ada, in
a low tone. I don't want to go one
bit. I am quite afraid of grandpapa,
and Aunt Jenny, and Aunt Susan."
10 NORMAN AND ADA.
There's one thing," said Norman,
thoughtfully, that I like. I heard
Joe say to cook that he guessed papa
was sending me to see the old gen-
tleman,-he meant grandpapa, you
know,-because he had a deal of
money, and it might be a nice thing
for me to get to be his heir."
"His heir, Norman! what's that?
I always thought a hare was a
creature something like a rabbit."
"So it is," said Norman; but this
is another thing altogether. I don't
exactly know what it is, at least I am
"But what do you think it is?"
inquired little Ada, who always con-
sidered Norman a perfect oracle, and
THE CHERRY TREE. 11
could not believe that he did not
"Well, you remember," said Nor-
man, looking very wise, you remem-
ber that day when we went to see
Lord F- 's park, we met a tall
man with a gun over his shoulder, and
two or three dogs with him. He told
papa he had to look after the game,
you know; well, I expect he was the
heir, for I have heard people often talk
about Lord F---'s heir. I should
like to have to walk about with a gun
and some dogs, very much;' so I hope
grandpapa will make me his heir."
Ada looked doubtful, but she never
dared to dispute Norman's opinion,
and merely said,-
12 NORMAN AND ADA.
I wonder what grandpapa will be
like ? Mamma says we are sure to
"I don't think I shall like Aunt
Susan," said Norman. Mamma says
she knits all day long, and I don't like
people who do the same thing all
I don't think mamma likes her
much," said little Ada: "she said she
wished Aunt Jenny was not such an
invalid, for we were sure to like her
best; and papa said he should just.
"Then it is quite certain Aunt
Busan is cross," said Norman, decided-
ly; "well, I shall keep out of her
way, if I can."
THE CHERRY TREE. 13
The journey was next discussed,
and when the bell rang for dinner the
two little ones had quite made up
their minds that the travelling alone
with a servant was the only part of
the trip which, they should enjoy in
the least. They did not know either
their grandfather or their great-aunts,
and, as we have seen, the picture they
had drawn in imagination was by no
means an attractive one. Aunts,
especially great-aunts, were always
cross; grandpapas were, of course,
grave and severe, quite unable to bear
any noise, and apt to look on children
as a great nuisance. With such anti-
cipations it is hardly to be wondered
at that little Ada's eyes filled with
14 NORMAN AND ADA.
tears, and Norman's face wore a look
of unusual gravity, when the carriage
rolled away from their home carrying
them on their first journey without
GRANDPA'S HOUSE. 15
8 Mrs. Linton had been ordered
to go to the sea on account of
her health, and not thinking
it desirable to take the children with
her, she had gladly consented to her
father's desire that they should be sent
to pay him a short visit. That the
children should be shy and timid, she
thought quite natural, and felt very
confident that they would soon get
quite at home with their grandfather.
Their aunts, she knew, were quite
16 NORMAN AND ADA.
unused to children, and might think
them troublesome; but it was a great
comfort to feel certain that they would
be sure to take care of her precious
little ones while she was unable to be
She had no idea of the frightful
anticipations the children had formed
respecting their new relations, or she
would have been more uneasy in part-
ing with them; for Ada, she knew,
was an extremely shy and nervous
child. She thought her tears merely
arose from sorrow at leaving home,
and therefore rather hastened their
Once fairly off the children resigned
themselves to their fate; they longed
GRANDPA'S HOUSE. 17
to give vent to their feelings, but the
presence of a tall, stout house-keeper,
who had been sent by their grand-
father to take charge of them, pre-
vented their speaking. By-and-bye
they left the carriage and found them-
selves, after a great deal of bustle and
running and pushing, safely deposited
in a railway car. It was not the first
time they had been in a train by any
means; but in all their previous
journeys they had had their papa to
take care of them, and, somehow or
other, he had always managed to
catch the train and get the luggage
labelled and put in, without any such
running, pushing, and screaming, as
the housekeeper found indispensable.
18 NORMAN AND ADA.
Norman wondered why it was, but
when he saw Mrs. Brooks, as she was
called, throw herself back in the car-
riage with a look of intense relief and
fatigue, he naturally enough concluded
that they had narrowly escaped some
frightful accident, such as he knew
were always happening at railway
stations, and accordingly felt very
glad that he had obeyed her com-
mands to run as fast as ever his legs
would carry him along the platform.
While he was pondering on this
subject he almost forget little Ada,
who was sitting next to him, firmly
clasping his arm between her hands,
as if she was afraid he would run
away from her. Nor did he arouse
GRANDPA'S HOUSE. 19
himself from the dream he was enjoy-
ing of the dreadful fate that they had
probably just escaped, till he felt her
little soft head go down on his
shoulder, and found she had fallen fast
asleep. He put his arm around her,
and felt very proud when he remem-
bered that his father's parting words
to him had been, Take care of little
Sissie till we see you again." Little
Sissie looked very pretty as she lay
there asleep, and Norman amused
himself with thinking how his aunts
and grandpapa would admire her.
Ada was Norman's pride and pet,
just as he was her pattern of every-
thing good and clever; and I am quite
sure they never coveted any praises
20 NORMAN AND ADA.
they heard bestowed on each other.
Most children quarrel sometimes, but
I do think Norman and Ada quarrelled
less than many children do; perhaps,
it was partly because Ada never could
say No to Norman, whatever he
wished, and so he found a willing little
slave in her. His dreams were dis-
pelled by Mrs. Brooks' voice exclaim-
ing, as they pulled up at a station,
" Here we are! Now, John, Charles,
William, run and see if the carriage
is waiting; will you ?"
I suppose that John, Charles, or
William, obeyed her, or, perhaps, all
three; for before long Ada and Nor-
man were taken down a long flight of
steps and put into a large old-fashioned
GRANDPA'S HOUSE. 21
carriage with a pair of dark brown
horses, and with bustling Mrs. Brooks
were driven away from the station and
the town, through some pretty shady
lanes, to their grandpapa's house,
which stood quite alone in the
Little Ada was wide-awake now,
and when Mrs. Brooks pointed out to
the little travellers the chimneys of
their grandpapa's house among the
trees, she gave Norman's hand a very
hard squeeze, which he acknowledged
by stooping down and putting his arm
Mrs. Brooks thought them very odd
children, as all her remarks failed to
draw anything from them, and they
22 NORMAN AND ADA.
were by no means so delighted as she
expected at the idea of seeing their
Suddenly the two brown horses
quickened their pace, and after
ascending a little hill they turned in
at a pair of iron gates, and in another
minute stopped before the door of a
very pretty country house. Norman
thought it looked so large that he
should never be able to find his way
about it, but of course he did not say
so; and as for poor little Ada, she was
much too frightened to speak. The
door was opened, and then the children
got out of the carriage and walked
very gravely into the house. A lady
stood inside the hall door, whom Nor-
GRANDPA'S HOUSE. 23
man knew at once must be Aunt
Susan ; for there was the much-dreaded
knitting sticking out of a black satin
bag that hung by her side.
She looked dreadfully tall, the
children thought; and Norman felt
quite frightened when he saw little
Ada throw her arms around her neck
and kiss her; it seemed to be taking
such liberty : but, poor little Ada she
had never learned to kiss without
twining her little arms around her
friend's neck. But Aunt Susan did
not seem angry at all; she took them
both by the hand and led them into
the dining-room to see Aunt Jenny,
who, she said, was lying down.
Aunt Jenny was very different from
24 NORMAN AND ADA.
Aunt Susan certainly, so far the
children's expectations were right.
She was very slight and short, with a
pale face, but a very sweet smile,
which made little Ada think her
something like her mamma.
Then Aunt Susan took them up-
stairs to a little room in the attics,
to take off their things. A very cosy
little room it was; and another, just
the same size, opened into it, where
Norman was to sleep. Both the
children were greatly relieved to find
that they were not to be very far
Tea was a very solemn affair, for
grandpapa was not at home, and the
two children "had not yet," as Aunt
GRANDPA'S HOUSE. 25
Jenny said, "found their tongues."
Norman, who was a restless little
individual, found it very hard to keep
still-he thought tea would never
come to an end; and not all the
entreating looks of his little sister
could avail to prevent his giving vent
to his feelings in two or three very
Aunt Jenny pitied him: perhaps
she knew something of the misery of
having to sit still when you are long-
ing to run about; and at last she said
to her sister,-
"My dear, it is very early; the
children would like to go into the
garden before bedtime, I daresay."
"Into the garden, Jenny !" replied
26 NORMAN AND ADA.
Aunt Susan, looking up from the
dreadful knitting, which she had taken
out of the bag as soon as her labor of
making tea was over. "How can
you think of such a thing? there is a
heavy dew falling; they will be sure
to catch cold. You must remember
that we are responsible for them, and
it will never do for them to run such
Oh, aunt," Norman could not
forbear saying, we always go into
the garden after tea at home, and we
never catch cold."
"That is quite another thing," she
said coldly; "if your parents choose you
to run such risks it is their own affair,
but here we don't do such things."
GRANDPA'S HOUSE. 27
Why not?" Norman was on the
point of asking, for to get out into the
garden seemed the only hope of escap-
ing from Aunt Susan's sharp eyes;
but little Ada looked so frightened
that he refrained from pursuing the
subject any further.
Then get two footstools, and come
and sit by me, dears," pursued the
kind old lady. "There is Mop
asleep on the hearth-rug, just as if it
was the middle of winter; suppose
you wake him up to have a game
This proposal was highly agreeable
to Norman; nor did it seem wholly
displeasing to Mop, when he was once
fairly awake. It was a long time
28 NORMAN AND ADA.
since the old fellow had had any one
to play with, and the novelty of the
thing seemed quite to enchant him.
Certainly that day must have been a
memorable one in Mop's monotonous
I must say, though, I doubt whether
Norman had ever played such a quiet
game before. At home the old terrier
knew he might scamper over the
chairs, and knock down the fire-irons
with impunity; but Mop's conscience
told him such conduct would be con-
sidered most unbecoming by Miss
Susan; and whatever his inclinations
might have been, he kept them within
bounds, and romped in the most
decorous and well-behaved way.
GRANDPA'S HOUSE. 29
Meanwhile little Ada was quite
happy to sit still at Aunt Jenny's feet,
and wind a skein of pink wool. It
was always an easy task to amuse
little Ada; life seemed so full of quiet
happiness for her, that she never
needed to get into mischief to find
80 NORMAN AND ADA.
I EN bedtime came Aunt Susan
/- rang the bell, and. told an old
servant, who answered it, to
take them up-stairs, and help them to
undress. Ada's heart began to beat
rather fast, for it was the first time in
her life that she had gone to bed in
any room but her own nursery;
however, it must be done, and she
determined to be very brave.
Old Sarah undressed the children
with very few words, and, having
THE ALARM. 31
tucked them up snugly, left them,
with the charge to go to sleep and not
talk. And now Ada's terrors began.
The idea of being left to go to sleep
in the dark had never occurred to
her; she had never done such a thing
even in her own nursery at home,
where nurse was always within call;
and here she was quite alone, with
only Norman in the next room, who
would be sure to go to sleep very soon.
How she wished the moon would shine
as brightly as it did sometimes at
home; but now its faint rays only
just lighted up the room sufficiently
to make the chairs, even the basin and
jug and her own clothes, look very
frightful in their different places.
32 NORMAN AND ADA.
At first poor little Ada plunged far
under the-bed-clothes, having a vague
idea that she was safer there; but
soon, finding that she was in danger
of being smothered if she remained
there, she ventured to creep forth, and
take a timid look around her. A
large cupboard, which she had not
noticed before, now arrested her at-
tention; and why, you will wonder.
A cupboard, at least, is nothing very
frightful. No, but it may contain
something; and though she would
have found it difficult to say what that
thing was, Ada was firmly convinced
that the said cupboard was not unin-
habited. The door moved; she was
quite sure something was stirring
THE ALARM. 33
about inside. Not daring to move
hand or foot herself, and hardly
venturing to breathe, she lay watching
it for sometime, getting every moment
hotter and more terrified. Again and
again it seemed to shake; and at last,
poor child! she could bear it no longer,
and screamed out to Norman to come.
Of course he had no such babyish
fears; but then he had no cupboard in
his room-very little, indeed, but bare
walls-certainly nothing that the most
lively fancy could turn into a ghost;
but his little sister's voice told him
plainly that something was the mat-
ter; and, remembering his father's
injunction, he jumped out of bed at
once, and hurried to her rescue.
34 NORMAN AND ADA.
Poor little Ada was now sitting bolt
upright in bed, her terrified eyes fixed
on the dreadful cupboard. She was
not long in telling what was the
matter, and Norman's face grew rather
"I have heard of haunted houses,"
he said, and this is a very queer old
place. Shall I go and look in the
Oh, no, no !" she cried, seizing his
arm; won't you call Aunt Susan or
Norman said, No !" very emphati-
cally; the cupboard could hardly con-
tain anything so formidable as Aunt
Susan would be if she were angry, as
she certainly might be; and summon-
THE ALARM. 35
ing up all his courage, he prepared to
investigate the matter.
His little sister sat with her small
hands clasped in terror, watching him
as he surveyed the cupboard from a
distance first; and then, growing
bolder, peeped in at the door which
was a crack open.
"Ada, Ada! come here !" he said,
in a low whisper, "don't make the
least noise; there is something here,
but I don't know what it is;" and
Ada, who would have jumped out of
the window at his bidding, slowly
crept out of bed, and advanced on tip-
toe to his side.
There certainly was a long, thin
thing in the cupboard which moved;
36 NORMAN AND ADA.
and Ada gave no second glance, but,
with one spring, bounded back into
bed, and vanished as far as possible
under the coverlid. Unfortunately
she went a wee bit further than she
had expected or intended, and came
out on the floor at the bottom, just
as Norman, having boldly determined
to find out the real state of the case,
had pulled the door open, and brought
down, with a loud crash, a shelf which
had been rather insecurely placed the
A rush and skirmish followed, and
then the author of all their alarm, a
large tabby cat, ran wildly forth from
the folds of a dress which was hang-
ing up there, and in which she had
THE ALARM. 37
enveloped herself, thus causing it to
shake and frighten the children.
But such a commotion could hardly
take place in that quiet old house
without reaching the ears of Aunt
"As sure as anything those children
are in mischief already!" she ex-
claimed, as she threw down her knit-
ting and ran up-stairs, without heeding
her sister's observation that it might
be the servants in the kitchen. For-
tunately she brought a light with her
to the scene of confusion, or she might
have been puzzled to understand what
had happened. As it was, the sight
of Ada, half sitting, half lying on the
floor, the bed-clothes in confusion, the
'88 NORMAN AND ADA.
cupboard wide open, Norman standing
in dismay before it, and puss making
her escape the moment the door was
opened, made her stand for a minute
in undisguised dismay and astonish-
"What is the matter? what have
you been doing?" she exclaimed at
length; and Norman, who heartily
wished himself a hundred miles off,
began timidly to explain. But Ada's
sobs interrupted him, and before Miss
Murdock was much enlightened he
had given up the task, and was busy
trying to soothe and comfort his little
sister. So Aunt Susan, seeing that
there was not much chance of finding
out anything more than that the cat
THE ALARM. 39
had frightened Ada, and she had tum-
bled out of bed, contented herself
with putting then both into bed
again, and sending the old housemaid
to stay with them till they were
The morning sun, however, brought
brighter thoughts, and dissipated all
the more frightful visions of the night.
Aunt Susan was still most alarming in
her grim gravity; but grandpapa was
such a dear old gentleman, with such
delightful white hair, and beautiful
gold-rimmed spectacles, that the two
little faces looked much more smiling
when they appeared at breakfast than
they had when seated at the tea-table
the evening before. But unfortunately,
40 NORMAN AND ADA.
grandpapa, who was a magistrate.
had some business in a neighboring
town, and vanished accordingly imme-
diately after breakfast.
You had better go and play in the
garden, children," said Aunt Susan,
seeing they did not know what to do
with themselves, and evidently think-
ing that, like other savage animals,
children were dangerous articles if
kept in a drawing-room.
To the garden, accordingly, they
went, but, alas! misfortune seemed to
attend them everywhere. Norman's
quick eye discovered that the garden-
walks wanted rolling sadly, and to his
proposal that they should find the
roller and put them to rights, Ada
41 Xr L
T a c v. e r, a,.
They could scarcely move the roller. Page 41.
THE ALARM. 41
readily consented, thinking it would
be so nice to be of some use to grand-
papa. But the roller was very heavy,
and it had been left for sometime at
the bottom of the garden where there
was a large piece of ground unplanted,
the walks of which were nothing but
a mass of wet clay. Norman, how-
ever, in his simplicity, decided that
they wanted rolling worse than any,
and that they had better begin there.
So the two children set to work with
great ardor to pull the heavy roller
over the wet, sticky ground. It was
long before it moved at all, and when
it did,-oh, dear, oh, dear, it brought
great lumps of clay with it. The
farther they went, the worse it got,
42 NORMAN AND ADA.
till in sheer dismay they stood still
and relinquished their work. Ada
looked more than half inclined to cry,
while Norman said dolefully,-
"What shall we do? We hav6
made an awful mess, and it will never
do to leave it there,-and now it
won't move one way or the other.','
The last remark was only too true;
all their united strength was of no
avail to move it one inch.
"There it was, and there it meant
to stay," Norman said.
In the midst of this sad perplexity,
am sharp voice fell on their ears. It
was Aunt Susan calling them to go
out with her, as she was going into
the village to make some purchases.
THE ALARM. 43
Slowly and dolefully the children
obeyed the summons; one thought
had flashed across both their minds,
and made them wish themselves any-
where but where they were. Their
boots, that were so beautifully clean
when they went out, were now so
covered with that horrid clay, that it
was with difficulty they could drag
their feet along. Aunt Susan spied it
out in a moment, and of course
inquired rather sharply, what they
had been doing to get themselves into
such a plight. Then little Ada could
bear it no longer, and began to cry.
Norman, however, told the whole
story without hesitation, explaining
that they had meant to be of use to
44: ORMAN AND ADA.
grandpapa, and never dreamed of
getting into the mud.
"Of use !" said Aunt Susan; "the
idea of such a thing! getting the
roller covered with mud, and your
boots in such a condition that you are
not fit to be seen 1 But you can't
have them cleaned again this morn-
ing; once a-day is enough for anybody,
I should think. Go on in front, and
try and keep out of any more
mischief if you can."
What a wretched walk that was, to
be sure; conscious of nothing but the
best intentions, Norman's little heart
swelled with indignant pride, while
Ada sobbed till she could sob no
longer. Still Aunt Susan took no
THE ALARM. 45
notice, she thought children must be
taught to keep out of mischief, and
that this would be a good lesson for
46 NORMAN AND ADA.
T was fortunate for them,
grandpapa had quite different
ideas of managing children,
and their doleful faces at dinner-time
made him quite unhappy. Half
guessing how the matter stood with
Aunt Susan, he thought the best thing
he could do would be to find them
some little companions who would
play with them; and make them feel
more at home. Accordingly, when
dinner was over, he ordered the car-
A DISAPPOINTMENT. 47
riage to be got ready, and informed
his sisters that he was going to drive
over to Eastwood, a village about ten
miles off, to see if Freddy Murrell, the
clergyman's only child, would come
and spend a few days with the child-
ren. Aunt Susan was amazed at such
a proposal; the two children were
quite as many as she could manage,
indeed rather more, and what was the
use of asking another? Besides,
Freddy Murrell was at least three
years older than Norman, and would
be no companion for him; it was
altogether the most absurd and ridicu-
Mr. Murdock did not seem to
48 NORMAN AND ADA.
"The children look woefully dull,
Susan," he said, "and no wonder;
you and I are much too old to know
how to amuse them, and, besides, I
am out half the day. Of course it
would be better if Master Freddy were
younger, but Norman is a precocious
little monkey, and I have no doubt
they'll get on together."
So saying the old gentleman went
out and shut the door, and the next
minute Aunt Susan saw him drive
Freddy Murrell was well known to
Miss Murdock, and by no means a
favorite of her's,-a rough, rather
spoilt boy of ten or eleven, she could
never understand what her brother
A DISAPPOINTMENT. 49
found to like in him. Certainly she
could only look upon his visit as a
great trial of patience, and she fer-
vently hoped he would not be able to
come. But she was disappointed;
Freddy was only too glad to accept
the invitation, and just as the bell
rang for tea, the carriage drove up
with him in it.
Grandpapa certainly thought he had
done the right thing when he saw
his new visitor racing about the
garden in high glee, with Norman and
Ada after him, as unlike the melan-
choly children who had sat down to
dinner as it was possible to imagine.
He could not help laughing as he
saw how careful the two little ones
50 NORMAN AND ADA.
were to avoid running over the flower-
beds, while Freddy dashed right across
them without troubling his head in the
least to ascertain what mischief he
was doing. Mr. Murdock was gener-
ally nearly as particular as his sister
about the flower-beds, but just now he
felt that any small damage could well
be tolerated if it brought the children
any pleasure; still he could not help
smiling when he thought how indig-
nant Aunt Susan would be. And
indignant she most certainly was; but
knowing that any reproof bestowed
on Master Freddy would be quite
thrown away, she wisely kept her
feelings to herself, only saying to her
A DISAPPOINTMENT. 51
Well, all I can say is, that if that
wild boy breaks those children's necks,
it is your fault and not mine."
As for Norman and Ada, they were
almost beside themselves with delight
at the welcome addition to their
party, "the wild boy," appearing
in their eyes a perfect miracle of
cleverness and fun. The old house
seemed no longer dull when he thun-
dered up and down stairs, making the
old rooms echo with his merry voice
and laughter, now chasing the cat,
now romping with the dog, now jump-
ing little Ada, and now wrestling
with Norman. If only he could sleep
with Norman, their bliss would have
been complete; but Aunt Susan wisely
52 NORMAN AND ADA.
determined to prevent any more night
disturbances by putting him to sleep
in another part of the house.
Strange to say, a whole week
passed away without any frightful
accident having occurred. "The wild
boy," did not get any tamer, but some-
how or other, the children seemed to
have acquired some wonderful power
of tumbling down-stairs, and running
all manner of risks, without hurting
themselves ; so that Aunt Susan began
to fancy they must be made of India
rubber instead of wax, or that things
must have changed since she was
One thing she was certain of, and
that was, that her mother never
A DISAPPOINTMENT. 53
would have allowed Aer to ride on a
donkey without any saddle or bridle,
as little Ada was so anxious to do.
This said donkey had been dis-
covered by Master Freddy in a state
of luxurious ease in the meadow, and
was forthwith laid violent hands on,
and forced to come up to the field
where the children played, and to
make himself as agreeable to them as
possible whenever they wanted him.
Certainly donkeys, if they are ob-
stinate, are also the most patient of
animals; and Whiteface, as he was
called, was the meekest of the meek.
Freddy and Norman would mount on
his back together, and by dint of
kicks and shouts would make him
54 NORMAN AND ADA.
gallop round the field till he fairly sat
down from fatigue. Then the boys
often rolled off, and Aunt Susan would
say that she was sure they would do
it once too often, and that she should
have them both in bed with broken
heads before long.
However, that day never came; and
though sometimes Whiteface would
sit down and resolutely refuse to rise,
in spite of kicks or blows, I think on
the whole he enjoyed his life. Freddy
said he liked being abused and kicked,
but little Ada could never be induced
to believe that, and used all her little
powers of entreaty to keep them from
And by degrees Master Donkey
A DISAPPOINTMENT. 55
began to look upon her as his little
friend. She said that when the boys
pulled its tail, and nearly dragged its
head off between them, Whiteface al-
ways looked at her as if he would say,
"Tell them to let me alone." It was
very hard indeed not to be allowed
to get on its back, but Aunt Susan
was quite immovable.
At last a proposal was made, to
which it was quite impossible to con-
sent, Miss Murdock said. Norman
and Ada were left under her charge
by their parents, and she should not
allow them to go catching their deaths
of cold at a stupid picnic to please
anybody. Even grandpapa failed to
win her over; Freddy might go of
56 NORMAN AND ADA.
course, but Freddy declared he did
not want to go in the least without
Norman and Ada; indeed he would
much rather stay at home and play
with them. But that was out of the
question; Freddy's papa had already
accepted the invitation for him, and
so he was obliged to go.
Norman and Ada certainly were
very much disappointed. Freddy had
given them an animated description
of a picnic, and they had fully made
up their minds that they would be
allowed to go. They could not help,
therefore, looking rather sad when they
found they must stay at home; but
they were very brave, and even little
Ada did not shed a tear.
A DISAPPOINTMENT. 57
As the day fixed for the picnic drew
near, Freddy consoled his little friends
by predicting wet weather, which
would of course prevent his going;
but the sun rose with scarcely a cloud,
and the day proved almost perfect.
Norman and Ada went with him as
far as the big gate, and then returned
mournfully to the house. Aunt Susan
met them at the door, with two large
baskets in her hand. "There," she
said, holding one to each of them,
"cook wants all the red currants
picked for preserving; it will be a
capital job for you two this fine
morning. Get your hats, and run
58 NORM AN ND ADA.
AN HEIR AND KING.
ORMAN and Ada obeyed rather
slowly. If it had been Grand-
papa or Aunt Jenny, who told
them to pick the currants, they would
have been only too delighted to do it;
but Aunt Susan was by no means
such a favorite.
However, they went into the
kitchen-garden, and set to work. At
first it was cool and pleasant, and they
thought it very nice to sit under the
bushes and pick the currants, often
AN HEIR AND KING. 59
stopping in their work to compare the
big bunches, and see which had
gathered the most. But by-and-bye
the sun began to beat down very
unmercifully upon their heads, and
their little hands grew very tired.
"Let us rest a little while, Adie,"
said Norman at last; it is of no use
to try and fill these big baskets; we
never shall, if we pick all night."
But Aunt Susan said we were to
pick all," said Ada, looking very dis-
consolately at her stained fingers and
apron; and oh, my arms do ache so
Norman gave the basket an impa-
tient push, which seemed to say, "I
won't pick any more for all the aunts
60 NORMAN AND ADA.'
in the world;" and perhaps some such
exclamation might have been uttered
had not grandpapa suddenly made his
appearance on the other side of the
hedge, which separated the flower-
garden from the kitchen-garden; and
seeing the children there, inquired
what they were doing.
Norman told him, and the old
gentleman came and looked at their
baskets, and praised their industry.
Then, noticing little Ada's flushed and
wearied face, he stooped down and
took her on his knee.
"So the little woman wanted to go
to the picnic, did she ?" he said: "it
was too bad of Aunt Susan to say you
mustn't-was it not, Norman ?"
AN HEIR AND KING. 61
Norman said "Yes," very boldly,
and as if he meant it; and the old
"Well," he said, after he had
watched him for some minutes with a
very amused look, I'll tell you what
we'll do: we three will go and have a
picnic all by ourselves; we will go in
the little boat down as far as Rook's
Island, and there we'll encamp: shall
Oh, yes; what fun, grandpapa !"
said Norman; but Ada looked ruefully
at the half-empty basket of currants.
" Auntie said we were to pick them
all," she said timidly.
"No, birdie," he said, "you've
62 NORMAN AND ADA.
picked quite enough already. Norman
shall take one basket indoors, and the
other we will take with us for our
dessert. Run, Norman, to the house,
and tell Aunt Susan where we are
going, and that she must send some-
body with our dinners when it is dinner
time; and tell her, too, that she must
not expect us home till she sees us."
Norman rushed off in great glee,
highly delighted to have such a
message to bear to Aunt Susan, and
wondering how she would receive it.
He thought she would be very
angry; but, to his surprise, she listened
to him in silence, and merely remarked
that they would all get drowned
together, but that she did not care.
AN HEIR AND KING. 63
She let him put his basket down, and
return to Mr. Murdock; wondering
very much whether she really would
care if they did get drowned, and
secretly thinking that she would be
rather glad than otherwise.
The boat was unmoored, and they
set off. Grandpapa had never seen
his little grandchildren in such high
spirits; and his kind heart rejoiced to
see them so happy.
Rook's Island was a charming
place; a wee bit of land with a few
trees on it, standing in the middle of
a large piece of water. "Just big enough
for us three," little Ada said; but
Norman wished Aunt Jenny and
Freddy were there too.
64 NORMAN AND ADA.
Dinner on the island was a cosy
affair; the table-cloth was spread under
a tree, and they all sat around it.
"Now for your dessert, my little
woman," said grandpapa, when the
more substantial things had been
despatched. Dear me, I am afraid
Aunt Susan will have to put off her
preserving till to-morrow; she did not
know we had such famous appetites."
They took me a great while to
pick," said little Ada. Look grand-'
pa, what a splendid bunch! you must
have it;" and she scrambled toward
him to push it into his mouth.
Take care, little one, you'll tumble
into the water, and get drowned, and
what would Aunt Susan say then ?"
AN HEIR AND KINaG. 65
Ada laughed merrily, but Norman
I expect she'd say she knew you
would, Ada;" and then he told how
Miss Murdock had received his mes-
Grandpapa looked grave, and after
a few minutes' silence said,-
So, Norman, you don't like being
here, do you?"
This was rather a hard question to
answer truly and politely, but Norman
managed it very well.
"I like being with you very much
indeed, grandpa;" and Ada added,
" Oh, so much,-so much more than
we thought we should !"
0" said' grandpapa, "then you
66 NORMAN AND ADA.
did not think you should like it! I
wonder what sort of a monster you
thought I was! Come, little Ada,
"We did not think you were a
monster at all, grandpa," said the
little girl, shyly. Norman, do you
remember our talk in the cherry-tree
that day ?"
Yes," said Norman, who, to tell
the truth, had thought of it many
times since, and wondered when he
was to be promoted to the dignity of
carrying a gun, and possessing a dog
to follow him about the grounds,-
" yes, I remember quite well. Grand-
pa, what is an heir ?"
Aa heir ?" said grandpapa, looking
AN HEIR AND KING. 67
rather comical; I've heard of a hare,
and I believe there are a good many
of them in the woods out yonder.
Perhaps you could see one if you went
there some day."
"Not a hare, grandpa. 0, I know
what that is quite well! An heir is
a man, I think; I have heard papa
talk about Lord F- 's heir, and I
thought you had got one too."
Oh, an heir/" said grandpapa;
"I understand. Yes, an heir is a
man, my boy, and sometimes a very
troublesome sort of being too. But
you want to know what the word
means. Well, how shall I explain it?
Look here. You know Queen Victoria
is queen of all England, Scotland,
68 NORMAN AND ADA.
Ireland, and lots of other places; but
some day she will die, and then who
will reign instead of her?"
"The Prince of Wales-won't he
grandpa? Papa said so one day."
"Yes, the Prince of Wales, if God
spares him. Well, then, he is what we
call heir to the throne,-that is, the
next person who will reign- after the
queen. Do you understand, Norman ?"
"Yes, I think so, grandpa; but
you are not a king, so you cannot
have an heir, can you ?"
"I have got some land, you see,
my boy, and as it belongs to me I
must give it to somebody else when I
die, and whoever I may give it to is
AN HEIR AND KING. 69
"And who will you give it to,
grandpapa?" said little Ada, inno-
cently. "Will you give it to Nor-
We'll see," said grandpapa; per-
haps Norman may not live long
enough to be my heir. I should like
better for him to be the heir of a
much bigger property than mine: I
want to see him a king one of these
A king 0, grandpa!" exclaimed
both the children at once.
Yes, a king, with a crown on his
head," persisted the old gentleman,-
" but not a crown such as our kings
and queens wear; a crown such as
God's saints, who have loved and
70 NORMAN AND ADA.
served him here, will have; that's the
sort of kingdom I'd like you to have,
Norman was silent, but little Ada
crept closer to Mr. Murdock, and slip-
ping her hand into his, whispered,-
"And me too, grandpa?"
"And you too, dear," he said,
kissing her. I hope you will both
have it. Never mind about earthly
lands and kingdoms, they are not
worth much after all; we must say
good-bye to them one day, and very
often they do not do us much good
after all our efforts."
HOME AGAIN. 71
ND so the afternoon passed
Saway very quickly and pleas-
antly; they watched the sun
set behind the distant hills, and then
grandpapa said it would give him
rheumatism if he sat any longer on
the wet grass, so they got into the
boat again and returned home.
"Freddy will not be home till it is
quite dark, I suppose," said Norman.
" What a nice day it has been, grand-
72 NORMAN AND ADA.
pa! I wish we might go on a picnic
Grandpapa shook his head, and said
that would hardly do for business;
and then the children ran merrily
forward to the house.
A carriage was standing at the
door, and some of the boys who had
accompanied Freddy to the picnic
were in it.
Run, Ada," said Norman; Fred
has come home."
How early !" said Mr. Murdock,
" I hope nothing is the matter;" and
he pressed forward eagerly to the
house-door, saying, anxiously, Where
Fred has gone to bed, sir," said
HOME AGAIN. 73
Charles Wilmot, the eldest of the
boys, who was standing by, the car-
riage; he tumbled into the water and
got soaked through, and my mother
thought we had better bring him
home at once."
"Just as I said," exclaimed Aunt
Susan, who now joined the group;
" you never will believe me till the
mischief is done, Now if I had let
these children go, they would both
have been drowned to a certainty.
But you never will believe me."
Mr. Murdock smiled at her vehe-
mence, and replied,-
Never mind that just now, my
dear; but tell me, is the boy hurt ?"
"Oh, no, sir, not a bit." cried
74 NORMAN AND ADA.
Charlie Wilmot, only got a drench-
ing! He'll be all right to-morrow."
"I don't know about that; such
chills often do permanent harm," said
Miss Murdock; "I hope he will not
suffer from it, but I have great fears
for him. I am extremely glad I had
nothing to do with his going; I should
never have forgiven myself."
Charlie looked half inclined to
laugh; but he checked himself when
Mr. Murdock asked how it happened,
and replied, Well, I am sure I
hardly know. I never thought Fred
was a coward, but he certainly looked
like it to-day."
"We were having rare fun in the
nut-wood, and Frank, Lewis, and I
HOME AGAIN. 75
had crossed the stream that runs
through it, just below the waterfall--
you know there is a plank laid across
it just there. I looked around, and
called Fred to come too; and then,
whether the plank was slippery, or he
turned giddy, I don't know, but in he
went head-foremost, and the water
was rather deep there, so he got a
"But I hope he won't catch cold;
you don't think he will, do you, ;r ?"
Oh, no," said the old gentleman;
" a cold bath is rather a pleasant thing
this hot weather, and he is a strong,
sturdy fellow enough."
So I told Miss Murdock, sir; he'll
be all right in the morning; good-
76 NORMAN AND ADA.
night;" and Charlie Wilmot sprang
into the carriage, and drove away.
So ended Fred's picnic. Unfortu-
nately for Mr. Murdock and Charlie
Wilmot, Aunt Susan did turn out to be
a true prophet this time, and Fred had
to undergo a week's confinement in
bed, with sundry disagreeable reme-
dies, which he declared were much
worse than any sore throat.
Norman and Ada were very dull
while he was ill, and their dismay
was great when Aunt Susan declared
that as soon as he was well enough
he must go home, as she could not
bear to have the charge of such a boy,
who would be sure to kill himself
some day or other. It was in vain
HOME AGAIN. 77
that he promised to be as steady as
she was; to walk up and down stairs
always on tip-toe, and never to speak
above a whisper. She was inexorable,
and the children looked forward to
leading as dull a life in the old house
as they had before Freddy's arrival.
But before the dreaded day arrived,
Aunt Susan received a letter, which
changed all her plans at once. An
old school friend had just arrived from
India and wrote to beg Miss Murdock
to pass some time with her in town. It
was too great a pleasure to be fore-
gone, and though she greatly feared
her absence would occasion some great
calamity, she allowed her brother and
sister to persuade her that they could
78 NORMAN AND ADA.
between them take care of the chil-
She comforted herself with the
assurance that much danger would be
removed by Freddy's departure, as it
was he who always led the little ones
into mischief; but no sooner was she
gone than grandpapa, who was a very
mischievous old man, sent to the
vicarage of Eastwood to say that it
was quite impossible for him to spare
Freddy now his sister was gone, as he
was so useful in amusing the children.
So Freddy stayed on all the time
Norman and Ada remained at their
grandpapa's; and certainly the last
part of their visit was very delightful.
Grandpapa was a dear old man, and
EOME AGAIN. 79
Aunt Jenny was the very best of
aunts; and, strange to say, the three
months of their visit came to an end
without either of them having broken
their arms or legs, or had any serious
Aunt Susan was, of course, very
much surprised and very thankful,
but nobody told her how long Freddy
had stayed; and she felt quite sure
that things would have turned out
very differently if she had not settled
that he should go as soon as he was
No doubt she was very glad when
they were safely off her hands, but
grandpapa was really very sorry to
part with the children. It was a long
80 NORMAN AND ADA.
time since that old house had been so
lively, and it was very pleasant to
have children's voices echoing through
the passage where for many long years
the wind had whistled and the mice
had scampered about undisturbed.
And the children, too, would have
been very sorry to go if it had not
been for one thing. Their papa and
mamma had come home and they had
not come alone. Norman and Ada
had got a little sister, and though
Aunt Susan said, Oh, dear me, what
a pity !" when she heard it, the two
children did not by any means agree
with her. The two days which had to
pass between the arrival of the news
and their going home seemed endless;
HOME AGAIN. 81
how often they -discussed the new
baby, and wondered who it was like,
how soon it would be able to talk,
what it would be called, and where it
Norman, of course, wished it had
been a boy, and Ada wished it because
he did; but, loy or girl, it was very
delightful, and they only wished they
could go home at once.
The journey back did not seem half
so long as when they came; it is true
Mrs. Brooks accompanied them, as she
had done before, but they were not
much afraid of her now, and laughed
and chattered all the way home like a
couple of magpies.
I verily believe the good woman
82 NORMAN AND ADA.
thought they had gone quite mad
when they left the train and got into
the carriage to drive from the station;
they did not sit still one moment, but
jumped and capered about, till George,
the coachman, turned round from his
high box to tell them they would
tumble out of the carriage and break
It was a pleasant coming home in-
deed; to see papa standing at the door
ready to lift little Ada out of the car-
riage, then to creep so quietly up-stairs
to their mamma's room, where she lay
on the sofa just as she often used to
do, and then to walk, like little fairies
on tiptoe, to that dear little cot, and
take one breathless peep at the dear
HOME AGAIN. 83
little face nestled into the pillow.
Ada and Norman often liked to talk
about that day long afterwards; it
was such a delightful end to their